Englands Heskey fires blanks in A-League debut

07 October 2012 11:17

Former England striker Emile Heskey struggled to make an impact on his Australian A-League debut as Adelaide United gave his Newcastle Jets team a losing start to the new season on Sunday.

Heskey, who has 62 caps for England, put in a 70-minute shift in his first A-League game as Adelaide, knocked out of the AFC Champions League quarter-finals mid-week by Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan, put behind their draining travel schedule to win 2-0 in Newcastle.

Goals by Dario Vidosic and Iain Ramsay secured the win for the Reds, who spent 33 hours making the 11,800 kilometre (7,300-mile) journey from Tashkent to Newcastle.

Record crowds greeted the A-League's opening weekend to watch the first club appearances in Australia of Heskey and fellow international stars Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono.

Heskey, 34, only arrived in Australia 10 days ago but started for the Jets and showed some good touches. Still, he looked lethargic at times and is likely to benefit from his first hit-out.

Italian superstar Del Piero got off to a losing start with his new Australian club as Sydney FC crashed to a 2-0 defeat to Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand on Saturday.

World Cup winner Del Piero, on a reported Aus$2 million ($2.04 million) a season, was one of the few positives as the two-time A-League champions struggled against Phoenix before 12,000 fans in wintry Wellington.

Goals by new Belgian striker Stein Huysegems in the 43rd minute and youngster Louis Fenton 15 minutes from time gave Phoenix their fifth straight win over the better-resourced Sydney team.

Japan's three-time World Cup star Ono came off the substitutes' bench but was unable to conjure a goal for competition newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers against Central Coast Mariners.

Ono played the last 30 minutes as the Wanderers did well to hold last season's semi-finalists Mariners to a scoreless draw at Parramatta Stadium.

Ono, 33, who has played 56 times for Japan, delighted the 10,500 fans with his sublime skills and passing to show he should be an asset once he gains full match fitness.

Substitute Billy Mehmet scored the winner two minutes from time in Perth Glory's 1-0 home win over champions Brisbane Roar in a re-match Sunday of last season's A-League grand final.

A crowd of 42,000 watched Melbourne Heart's 2-1 derby win over Melbourne Victory on Friday.

Source: AFP